The Importance of Reading

Part of our mission, here at Airy Hill Primary School, is to ensure that reading is at the centre of all learning at home and at school. The school is determined that every pupil will learn to read regardless of their background, needs or abilities. Pupils at Airy Hill are familiar with and enjoy listening to a wide range of stories, poems, rhymes and non-fiction.

Airy Hill Primary School is committed to:

  • Teaching EVERY child to read
  • Closing the word gap
  • Developing a love of reading

“Reading for pleasure is more important for children’s cognitive development than their parents’ level of education and is a more powerful factor in life achievement than socio-economic background.” (Sullivan and Brown, 2013)

Our Reading Offer

  • Children will be taught using the Letters and Sounds phonics programme throughout their time at Airy Hill
  • Phonics teaching will begin on day 1 in Reception enabling all pupils to make a strong start
  • Our children will be taught by a team of expert reading teachers and DfE English Hub specialist
  • Children will develop their vocabulary through story time
  • All children will have access to enriching texts
  • Daily practise and application of reading will enable children to develop their fluency and comprehension
  • Children will have continual access to an enriching and wider curriculum which is text based
  • Any child who falls behind will be identified quickly and supported immediately

Developing Reading Through School

Nursery Reception Year 1 Year 2 Year 3 Year 4 Year 5 Year 6
Daily Letters and Sounds Phonics          
  Reading fluency sessions        
Daily story time Whole Class Reading
Individual reading sessions once each week

Reading for pleasure

Whole Class Reading

Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
Class Novel - VIPERS Class Novel –


Class Novel - VIPERS Reading Diet – a balance of genres Cracking Comprehension

Becoming a fluent reader

Systematic synthetic phonics is taught using the Letters and Sounds programme throughout Nursery, Reception and Year 1 and into Year 2 when needed. Our expectations are continually set high and our phonics programme matches the expectations of the curriculum and early learning goals, with lots of children set targets which exceed these expectations. This is used to ensure the pupils are taught new phonemes in a particular order using the four part lesson format: revise, teach, practise and apply.

A new sound is taught daily using engaging activities which the children are familiar with. Every lesson also incorporates speed writing of common exception and high frequency words. Lessons are kept fast-paced and usually last no more than 20 minutes: this is to ensure that all pupils are fully engaged and enjoying their phonics learning.

At Airy Hill Primary School, phonics does not stand alone. We integrate this into many areas of the curriculum, referring back to sounds and strategies wherever possible. Pupils who are making slow progress are identified quickly and intervention is immediately put into place, alongside the usual phonics teaching.

  Autumn 1 Autumn 2 Spring 1 Spring 2 Summer 1 Summer 2
Nursery Phase 1 Some children begin phase 2


Reception Phase 2 Phase 3 Consolidating and applying phase 2 and 3 Phase 4
Year 1 Consolidate phase 3 and 4 Phase 5

Part 1

Phase 5

Part 2

Phase 5

Part 3


Phase 6

Year 2 Phase 6

No nonsense spelling and daily reading

Becoming a skilled reader

During all reading sessions at our school, high quality texts and genres are used alongside the term ‘VIPERS’ to explicitly teach each reading skill. This consistent approach supports children and ensures that the teaching of reading is specific and focused. We post examples of these reading skills being discussed and developed on our Facebook page frequently.











Choosing a reading book

For a child to enjoy reading, they need to be able to access texts at their level. All individual and group reading books in reception and KS1 match the pupils’ phonic knowledge, ensuring all words can be decoded.

Children are provided with one reading book each week which they are encouraged to read three times. Research shows that children make the best progress when they read and re-read a text so that they can decode, read fluently and comprehend the text.

Alongside this children are encouraged to take home a book of their choice (often a picture book in KS1) to share with their family and develop their love of reading. This can be changed as often as desired.

Children in KS2 read books pitched at or above the expected standard for their age which they can find and enjoy in their class reading area. These books are changed with the class teacher’s guidance and children are encouraged to read as regularly as possible at home.

Pupils choose to work their way through the reading scheme in whichever order they wish and can choose from a range of fiction and non-fiction texts. Having high expectations is very important; all pupils are expected to read at home for 20 minutes a night. In addition to this, pupils may also be reading their own book from home, the local library or the main school library.

Developing our love of reading

Easy ways to help a child with reading at home

Understanding key vocabulary

At Airy Hill Primary School, we consistently use accurate and technical vocabulary with all of our children and staff. This is to ensure that throughout their journey at school, they can develop a secure understanding to support their independent learning.


Adjacent consonants—Two (or three) letters making two (or three) sounds. E.g. the first three letters of strap are adjacent consonants. Previously known as a consonant cluster.

Blending - The process of using phonics for reading. Pupils identify and synthesise/blend the phonemes in order to make a word. E.g. s-n-a-p, blended together, reads snap.

Consonant digraph - Two consonants which make one sound. E.g. sh, ch, th, ph

CVC, CCVCC etc. - The abbreviations used for consonant-vowel-consonant and consonant-consonant-vowel-consonant-consonant words, used to describe the order of sounds. E.g. cat, ship and sheep are all CVC words. Black and prize could be described as CCVC words.

Digraph—a combination of two letters representing one sound, as in ‘ph’ and ‘ay’.

Etymology - the study of the origin of words and the way in which their meanings have changed throughout history. Research shows that looking at word etymology prompts pupils to become ‘word curious’. It also means that, instead of learning one word at a time ,they will have the keys to decode many more words as they encounter them in their reading.

Grapheme —A letter or group of letters representing one sound (phoneme) E.g. ck, igh, t, sh

Morphology - morphological awareness is an understanding that prefixes and suffixes can be added or taken away to change the meaning of a word. Knowledge of morphemes can make spelling of complex words or spelling exceptions easier for students to remember. It enables pupils to identify root words and build word families effectively.

Phoneme - The smallest unit of sound in a word.

Split digraph— A split digraph is a digraph that is split by a consonant. Usually a long vowel sound,e.g. ‘a-e’ (cake), ‘i-e’ (five), ‘o-e’ (code), 'e-e' (sphere) and ‘u-e’ (rule).

Synthetic Phonics - is a way of teaching reading. Pupils are taught to read letters or groups of letters by saying the sound(s) they represent. Pupils can then start to read words by blending (synthesising) the sounds together to make a word.

Trigraph—Three letters which together make one sound. E.g. igh

Vowel digraph - A digraph in which at least one of the letters is a vowel E.g. ea, ay, ai, ar

Airy Hill Book Progression 2020

Early Reading @ Airy Hill

Reading @ Airy Hill

Reading Progression

Reading Brochure